Thursday, July 25, 2013

AnĂșna's, "The Blue bird"

A short blog today, one which I meant to write a while back.

You know that I like birds. Well to my absolute delight I realised that one of my favourite pieces of music by Anuna, is called The Blue Bird!


ps... As always it is lovely to know that you stopped by to read my musing and follow my creative adventures.Many thanks & Lots of love Corina

Monday, July 15, 2013

The arts, study, disability and awards

.. now that is some title. You see I have so much in my head that I don't quite know what to write first!

Metamorphosis © Corina Duyn 2012
So, the Arts, as it appears first in the title. Well, as you know I had an exhibition in the Spring and as I was writing the 'blab' for the gallery, I realised how my work had changed from wanting to be free and"fly away" from illness, to becoming much more grounded. Sculptures like  To be Born and Metamorphosis came into being, all created from roots and tree branches. I think this came about from finally fully accepting chronic illness and disability in my life.

I am aware that we go through many stages of acceptance and every time we think "this is it", and then we come upon some other challenge and have to start the whole process from grieving to acceptance all over again. This time though it feels different.
I felt a kind of freedom from this acceptance, a freedom to stop seeing complementary treatments as a possibly cure to seeing it as helping me to stay as good as I can, and manage the ups and downs of my health accordingly. I can just fully live my life as it is.
Again this I think is evident in my art created during the past year and a half. (Please see the exhibition link above if you'd like to see the images.)

Also, I think it is because of this acceptance that I ended up taking up the rather huge challenge of attending college to study Disability Studies. (One night a week) It certainly was not easy, and I had to overcome many a difficulty, practical as well as emotionally. But. It has brought me further on my path and I do hope to attend the second year in September.

This course has broadened my understanding greatly about what it is like to live with a disability in today's society, and for me personally, it has, in a round about way, opened up my mind to the world of Disability Arts/ arts created by people with a disability.
Nothing new there you might think, but I am now aware of so many artist and their work and it has wet my appetite to delve into the subject much further.
Part of my last assignment was an oral presentation. My chosen topic was "The artist as Educator" as I truly believe and now much more fully understand, that through the arts we can nibble away at the preconceived ideas by people who think they are the healthy ones, that when you are ill or disabled your life is not worth living, and you have nothing to add to society, and that we need to be cured.

I am hoping to write more about all this, and maybe in drips and drabs will put part of that writing here on my blog.

So what about the 'award' bit of the title?
As I am so excited to study Disability, the Arts, my own reflections, and keep developing my own creative output, I had written several proposals for funding to make this happen.
I have been so incredibly fortunate to have been awarded three separate bursaries. The Waterford County Arts Bursary (shared with many others) to spend two weeks at the The Tyrone Guthrie Centre an Artist workplace. I will be accompanied by Jane Jermyn who also was with me when I worked there on my book Hatched  in 2005. I will work on my writing and look for images in nature which represent my life.
Through Artlinks, a support organisation in the south east, I have been awarded a place at the mentoring session for literature later in the year.
The most exciting, I think, is the being awarded the Ted and Mary O'Regan Arts Bursary. This bursary has been set up in the memory of Ted O'Regan and his wife Mary, who were very much involved with anything to do with the arts in County Waterford. Every year family and friends sponsor a few artist to live their dream. The chairperson rang me a few weeks ago with the news that I had been one of two recipients, and that the panel was very excited about my arts and disability project.
To me, it is the recognition that touches me most, for all the bursaries. The recognition that I am on the right path in my life and with my work. Of course the financial contribution from the O'Regan bursary is wonderful too!

Tomorrow there is an award ceremony at the Mayor's Office in Waterford, and afterward I am going out for dinner with a few friends to celebrate my new, or continued path.

The last time I was at a Mayor's office was when I was about 8 years old. Our school was adjacent to a very busy road and traffic light were installed. The celebrate this, I was one of the lucky children from the school to be invited at the Mayor's office. My mother had knitted some very intricate knee socks and I wore them for the first time at this event.
No knitted socks this time!

ps... As always it is lovely to know that you stopped by to read my musing and follow my creative adventures. It would make my day if you leave a comment...
Many thanks & Lots of love Corina

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Garden visitors

I enjoy visitors  to my garden, some more than others it might be said...

On Saturday just after a lovely nap in my garden, I heard the doorbell ring. 
A lady walking "Lady Louisa's walk"which runs along my house, saw the small wooden block on my wall with the notice that there are art and books for sale here, and decided to enquire.
She went away with a copy of the Cirrus Chronicles which is a fairy tale set in along the path she just walked, after exploring my garden and visited my studio.
How lovely to meet people in your own home. She brightened up my day.
Yesterday I met a young lady who recently moved into my area, and later that day she came to my house to buy a copy of Flying on Little Wings  and promised to be back over the coming weeks for my other two books.

Today I received a Thank You note in the post from the lady who was here on Saturday. 
You know, it is this little acts of kindness that really matter in life. 

Visitors also arrive in other forms- like through a package in the post with gifts to celebrate my new greenhouse, from a dear friend, cyber-friend as we have never yet met in person, who was so delighted with the new addition to my house and life.
A big thank you to you all for being part of my life, in subtle but amazingly powerful ways.

Yet other visitors, well they need a little more kindness from my part to welcome to my garden... Caterpillars. In saying that, I actually think they are creating their own bit of magic to the garden. Body sculptures in a way. Look how they become part of the leaf. I think it is kind of beautiful.
The skeleton that they leave behind is pretty to! They settled on this small tree/shrub (of which I do not know the name but was assured by gardener friend that it is a weed) after they had devoured all the leaves on the red current bush, but in an act of kindness (or just dislike) they had left the berries for me to eat.We all have our own taste I suppose!

ps... As always it is lovely to know that you stopped by to read my musing and follow my creative adventures. It would make my day if you leave a comment...
 Many thanks & Lots of love Corina

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Going for a swim

Thank you all once again for the lovely responses to my blogs, and for the new visitor, a reader of my little book Flying on Little Wings, who stopped by to say hi.
Here a piece I wrote  a few weeks ago and like to share with you.

Yesterday I had a normal day out.  Going for a swim with friends, although I didn’t know any of the three people I shared my outing with. The only ‘un-normal’ part was that I was transported in a van, which advertised my disability… perhaps more about that later?

Anyway. After meeting with Andrea Lloyd, from the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) a few weeks previous, I had my first outing under the Outreach Service Program: do something on your own, with the support of the IWA.
My first thoughts what I would like to do was swimming.
Thursday the 13th June was my day.
I was picked up by Miriam (my support for the day) and driver L., in the IWA wheelchair bus. My chair and myself were loaded on. We picked up P. and his chair along the way. He was joining us to spend time in the swimming pool.

To be honest the drive down to Youghal was tough in places as the road is not the best (bumpy potholes) and I did my best to concentrate on the moment and not feel the pain in my body, and not feel the tiredness increasing even before I got my toes in the water. I imagined being a toddler in a buggy and awaiting a bath when the got ‘home’. Little did I know.
When I saw the beach I would have been quite happy just to sit along the boardwalk if the pool proved to be to full with children. I had worried about having youngsters doing crazy jumps into the pool. But we were lucky, there was hardly anybody there.

I was driven right up to the pool in my wheelchair and ‘glided’ into the water via the few steps although there was a chair-hoist available to lower me into the water. You see, I still so much want to do things on my own, without help…
I had decided I was here for a fun day, a relaxing time other that use the time in the pool solely for exercise, my body just wasn’t up to that. Miriam, my support, was also in the water and offered to hold me to float through the pool. Independent minded… I opted for ‘floaties’ instead. A giant piece of ‘foam spaghetti’, and a board to put my head or arms on. Together with Miriam we floated back and forth through the pool, chatting away. At times meeting P. and L. for a chat.
It really felt like a normal day. Nothing to do with being ill, having a disability, no difference between the IWA staff and P. and myself. We were all equal in the water, all at the same eyelevel and all floating or swimming around.

After a good while I tried to float on my back and tried to get comfortable with the use of the ‘floaties’ but Miriam stepped in: “This is how we do this”. She put her hands under my waist and when I finally fully gave in, I rested my head on her shoulders as she suggested. She swam me through the pool like this.
Thank you!
This was the most amazing experience I have ever had of letting go and letting myself be cared for. Ever. Closing my eyes it felt like mediation. Incredibly powerful. The memory still brings tears to my eyes. Tears of gratitude. For once I let myself be minded, be looked after, without working hard to resist it and trying to do things for myself. I am not sure if Miriam is aware of the huge step forward she has helped me to make.

I had great difficulty getting out of the pool via the three or four steps. I went up on my bottom, and needed to be pulled up to make it to wheelchair. Next time (I’m a slow learner) I will use the chair hoist.
To warm up we spend a short while in the sauna before getting showered and dressed in the spacious wheelchair adapted wetroom. I was offered help with this but Miriam was not surprised that I did not call her for help… I‘ll learn. I promise.

I am grateful for being made aware of the outreach service from the IWA and having had a chance to experience this wonderful day out. Can’t say my body was happy (it took 5 days to recover), as I used more energy than I had, and used more muscles than was obviously necessary resulting in a lot of pain, but the overall feeling is one of joy.

The outreach service will be fully rolled out in my area later in the year. Anybody with a physical or sensory disability can avail of the service, to do something you normally don’t get a chance to do on your own. Do something normal, like anybody else. The only “un-normal” I suppose is that the van/bus that gets us to where we want to go has the huge letters of the IWA written on it. Advertising our difference. It does not diminish the quality of the service but it might put people off using it. I am glad I overcame that issue and stepped onto the bus.

ps... As always it is lovely to know that you stopped by to read my musing and follow my creative adventures. It would make my day if you leave a comment? Many thanks & Lots of love Corina